Superstar bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach, whose collections of art, pricey watches and fine wine were recently plundered by burglars, offered a new reward of up to US$1.7 million for information leading to the safe return of 13 stolen works.
The overall value of the property taken from Gundlach’s home in the coastal town of Santa Monica, near Los Angeles, two weeks ago was placed at more than US$10 million (NZ$12m), including a red Porsche Carrera 4S sports car the thieves apparently drove away in.
But the bulk of the massive heist consisted of rare, one-of-a-kind works by contemporary painter Jasper Johns, who last year won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the late Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian and several other artists.
During a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday, Gundlach said a US$200,000 reward initially offered for tips leading to the undamaged return of his art works remains in place.
But he posted a new US$1 million reward for a 1936 oil on canvas by Mondrian called ‘Composition (A) En Rouge Et Blanc’, plus an additional US$500,000 for three works together — a 1956 Johns piece called ‘Green Target’ and two wood-box collage works by Joseph Cornell, ‘Medici Princess’ and ‘Pinturicchio Boy’.
Anyone providing information resulting in the successful recovery of all 13 works, including pieces by Frank Stella, Franz Kline, Guy Rose, Philip Guston and Hanson Duvall Puthuff, would stand to receive the total reward of US$1.7 million.
He emphasised that rewards would only be paid if the works were returned undamaged.
Gundlach said he would take questions from the media, but abruptly left after declining to comment on the first three queries — was his property insured; did he have any suspicions about who was involved in the burglary; and was his house equipped with a security system.
A source familiar with arrangements told Reuters earlier the awards were not being offered with the intent of facilitating an arrest of anyone responsible for the burglary.
The reward notice issued by Gundlach included the phrase, ‘No Questions Asked’.
KING OF FIXED INCOME
In addition to the art works, police said thieves also got away with luxury watches made by the likes of Glashutte and Breitling, expensive bottles of wine and a small amount of cash
The burglary occurred sometime between the afternoon of September 12 and the night of September 14, according to police.
Gundlach was away on a trip at the time.
Santa Monica police Sergeant Henry Ramirez, a detective working on the case, told Reuters investigators have yet to identify any possible suspects in the burglary.
Asked whether police approved of the rewards posted by Gundlach and the manner in which they were offered, Ramirez said, ‘‘That’s his own action, and we’re separating ourselves from that because that’s up to him.’’
Gundlach, the founder, CEO and chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, is regarded in the financial industry as the new king of the fixed-income world with US$45 billion in assets under management.
He made headlines on Wall Street a year ago when he emerged victorious in a court battle with TCW Group Inc., the asset management firm that fired him in December 2009.
A Los Angeles jury found him liable for breach of fiduciary duty as well as taking trade secrets and interfering with the contracts of TCW clients, but Gundlach walked away unscathed as the jurors declined to award any damages.
He also won an unpaid wages claim of US$66.7 million against TCW.